And so it comes down to two of the most storied franchises in the NFL, both named after working-class occupations in working-class towns. The Green Bay Packers meet the Pittsburgh Steelers in perhaps the most impressive Super Bowl environment yet, the billion-dollar stadium that Jerry Jones built for the Dallas Cowboys. The Packers bring three previous Super Bowl titles to the game, along with nine other league championships, but none more recent than 1996’s Super Bowl. The Steelers bring six Super Bowl championships in seven appearances, including two in the last five years.
So far this season, I’ve gone 66-40 for regular-season picks and 7-3 in the playoffs. This game will be tough to call for many reasons. Obviously I’m backing the Steelers — if you’ve ever read an NFL open thread, you know that much — but I like the Packers as well. They’ve played as tough as anyone in the last several weeks, and the Pack got to Dallas by winning three games on the road in the playoffs. The last team to do that? The Pittsburgh Steelers, in the 2005 season, and they won the Super Bowl. They’re a fast team playing on turf, and their O-line is healthier than Pittsburgh’s.
But Pittsburgh has some advantages. First, this is their third Super Bowl in six years, with 18 players having been together for all three. They had to beat tough defenses to get here, especially the Ravens. Green Bay beat the Bears defense to win their conference, but they haven’t seen a defense of the Steeler’s caliber in the playoffs. Pittsburgh has a better run game and may be able to limit Aaron Rodgers’ number of opportunities through ball control, while the Steeler D should force Rodgers into passing through a superior run defense.
This should be a great game, a close game, and it may come down to the team that has the ball last. I’m picking the Steelers to beat the Packers by a touchdown, 27-20.